Improved Cookstoves Production Mali

This November 2016, StovePlus will organize its third annual StovePlus Academy. After Kenya and Ghana, Sierra Leone will host the event this year.

StovePlus Academy is a unique experience for African Cookstove Entrepreneurs to increase their knowledge about the industry, the issues that their services can address and to boost continent wide collaboration.

Origin and general objectives of StovePlus Academy

While other cookstove training programs exist, many Africans are excluded due to language, travel costs, visa issues and a trickle down system that does not prioritizes individual private businesses. StovePlus Academy activities take place in Africa, and are specifically designed for African Entrepreneurs and energy program implementers who either already have existing energy businesses or are contributing to the implementation of projects.

The general objectives of StovePlus Academy are to increase continent wide collaboration and knowledge about the industry, to strengthen African Entrepreneurs capacity improve their businesses, and to contribute to the overall commercialization of energy efficient and clean cooking devices across Africa. But besides moving the cookstove industry forward, the objective is also to genuinely reach the average citizen and increase their livelihood options while also increasing their awareness of larger issues.

StovePlus Academy was born out of the need to move beyond the existing top-down development paradigm and find solutions to reach the average citizen in many African Countries as the same time.

African Cookstove Entrepreneurs can play an important role in helping develop, disseminate and educate the public on these types of products and techniques within their local communities and regions. StovePlus Academy aims to expose African Entrepreneurs to successful approaches/solutions and then encourages them to select the ideas that they could integrate into their businesses and communities to improve their own lives and the lives of those around them in a sustainable way.

StovePlus Academy concept

The StovePlus Academy was conceived as a series of practical training sessions. The themes move the entrepreneurs through the key points for the development of their businesses, and allow them to provide guidance where they have strengths and learn tips from others on how to strengthen their businesses.

Each year provides an additional building block in helping the entrepreneurs improve their business acumen but also increase the services and coverage to consumers. 2016 will be the third year that the StovePlus Academy occurs. The previous years covered for 2014 innovation and improving the production process and 2015 distribution and marketing. Participants could work on their business plan, and identify the next steps they want to make. The theme for 2016 focuses on access to finance.

The format of 5-day residential training, maximizes opportunities for the participants to share their experiences, during the formal debates but also informally. Links created at the occasion of the StovePlus Academy last much longer, and are the beginning of further exchanges and collaborations.

Part of StovePlus’ uniqueness is that the Academy is conducted in French and English, allowing the Francophone and Anglophone African Entrepreneurs to exchange knowledge and learn from one another. This is a strong issue, as there is generally differences in the actors and approaches in the Franco vs Anglo parts of Africa.

This year academy will be open to 20 participants.

2016 StovePlus Academy theme: Access to finance

The different actors involved in improved stoves value chains may need funds:

·  Producers or manufacturers may require financing for raw materials, equipment, to improve their production facilities, for working capital—to pay workers while their investment may be tied up in unsold finished products, for transportation or to extend credit or products to their distribution chain.

·  On the supply side, financing options are needed for the retailers and manufacturers. Retailers may require credit for warehousing and inventory and also to potentially extend products on credit or payment plans to the consumers.

The theme Access to finance for improved cookstoves industry will be explored at the 2016 StovePlus Academy by bringing together Stove Manufacturers who have successfully used financing mechanisms, to the distribution network who also benefits from it and selected financing institutions who are willing to fund or provide loans to thermal application products or cookstoves.

The goal for the 2016 StovePlus Academy is for some participants to leave with potential agreements in hand and for others to understand the steps they must take to be able to access financing.

The seminar will be the occasion to share more widely participants’ experiences and to discover and test different technologies. Each participant will bring at least one of the stove models that he currently produces.

Participants will be requested a contribution of 500€ (560 USD) per person, for the 5-day seminar. This contribution could be revised depending on the funds raised. Decision will be taken by June 1st.

Timing and Accommodation:

The StovePlus Academy will take place from November 21 to the 25 in Sierra Leone. Attendees are expected to arrive the Sunday before the Academy and to leave by the day following the end.


Contact:

For questions and additional information, please contact:

Judith Bel
StovePlus Regional Director Africa
Tel: +221 77 162 79 99

Email: j.bel@geres.eu